As always, Australia enter this mega tournament as one of the top favourites. With a splendid world cup record having already won the cup on 4 previous occasions, the Aussies enter the tournament with a bevy of handsome talent. Known for their phenomenal big stage performances, it wouldn't be easy for any side to upset the Kangaroos at their own valley, given the fact that the playing eleven are familiar with conditions at the back of their hands, literally speaking. The Aussies will benefit from their well balanced set up that will depend as much on the exuberance of the youth as on the rational experience of its seasoned campaigners. Their brand of cricket is not only associated with playing exciting and attacking game but is underlined by an ability to bounce back from situations threatening overwhelming odds. A tall batting order that is well supported by bowlers who have the ability to chip in with notable contributions makes them a cricket heavyweight. On its day- Australia can challenge the might of any top contender, whether the side is chasing a huge total or defending a big score. Their pace attack has the ability to bite into the best batting orders and the never say die spirit of the side will lift their overall hopes. They will look at the tournament as a golden opportunity to wave the Aussie flag on cricket's greatest battlefield.
For any cricketer regardless of age or stature, comparisons with stalwarts like Gary Sobers or Jacques Henry Kallis are enough to introduce a sense of ego or highly inflated self worth which can perhaps provide a space for complacency. But not if you are a certain Shane Watson. Such modest comparisons have only bolstered his confidence and spirit and at 33, 'Watto' can be often found spending infinite hours at correcting flaws in his batting technique or figuring out measures with which he can sharpen his penetrating bowling line and length. Perhaps the most talented Aussie cricketer in the playing eleven today, Shane Watson is one of the great finds of Australian cricket. As an all rounder, he is expected to deliver from both bat and ball and off late, Watson's craft seems to be subtly shifting from the 'hard hitting' batsman who can bowl consistently into the 'effective seamer who can bat' mode. At times, the mighty Watson can be found wanting against the swinging yorkers or the rising deliveries but he is forever a bloke who seems to lose his wicket in an apparent lust to play the big stroke. Even then, one can't take away anything from those ODI figures of close to 5500 runs at a handsome average of 40 with 9 hundreds and 31 fifties. His highest score of an unbeaten 185 featured some towering cricket. Built as a bull and fired as a mighty comet, although Shane Watson's current approach often sees him struggling to find that rhythm to his game, it isn't long before he sets his sights on the middle that he can be seen sending the best of deliveries out of the park. With 164 wickets at an average of 31, he will be eager to improve his economy rate. Realizing that this may well be his final world cup appearance, Watson at the peak of his powers will look to make immense contributions for his beloved Australia.
At the outset of the Cricket world cup, there cannot be a more delighted side than that of Australia given the form of its most explosive batsman, one on whom they have tied a lot of hopes toward major success. As most batsmen around the world look to play a couple of big and meaningful innings before the start of the world cup signalling their being on form, all that Steven Smith needs to do is to easily go out there in the middle and help himself to another big score. With the injury prone Clarke resting his way to recovery, none had expected the young, inexperienced Smith to come out on song and take the cricket world by storm as he did. Inning after inning, he has dished out knocks of tremendous quality. It seems at the moment, the format of the game doesn't quite matter to this consistent scorer who makes batting look not just easy but big fun. He is fresh from decimating team India in the recently concluded test series where he crafted 4 brilliant centuries and stood out as the top scorer from Australian camp. Helping his side construct big first inning scores and further shattering the opposition's hope by scoring freely in second innings, his scores read 117, 192, 133, 162 in a one sided test match series. Going further into the one dayers, Smith's immediate scores are 102, 47 and 37. An able scorer on both sides of the wicket and a fiery batsmen who shuffles across the stumps to smoke bowlers onto the on side, Smith's remarkable rise as one of Australia's most promising talents in the recent years is a testimony to their cricket churning out one astounding talent after the other. His easy going nature is a hit among his teammates and a no nonsense ability marked by the single minded intent of scoring as many runs as he can will propel Australia's hopes of running into the opposition.
A thinking, mature cricketer, James Faulkner is easily amongst the best all rounders in one day international cricket, alongside Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Mooen Ali or Tillakratne Dilshan. His side can only be delighted that fellow cricketer Shane Watson occupies the same dressing room as the big hitting Faulkner. His exploits in limited overs cricket over the last year and a half have earned him the credentials of being one of the best finishers in modern cricket, with his hefty blows smoking the dust out of the opposition. Faulkner, who will be playing his first World Cup, will relish the opportunity to quiz oppositions relying on an all round effective play that rests on some exciting figures. His batting average is 48.12 from 29 innings with the highest score of 116. With 4 fifties and a strike rate of 111.11, he can be a difficult batsmen to remove when he gets going. The in-swinger come as effective as the deceptive slow bouncers, and Australia's support paceman enjoys a good economy rate with best figures of 4 for 48. James has honed his skills playing game after game in the domestic Pura cup and playing a great hand in Rajasthan Royal's successful IPL campaign in the last two seasons where he ably understood the strengths and weaknesses of many international players, something that will come in handy deciding Australia's fortunes in the mega tournament.
Not so long ago, one day international cricket was associated with the fire brand hitting of some of the most talented opening batsmen. The names of Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle and T. Dilshan were scary enough to dash the hopes of the bowlers who were asked to charge into them. Then out of nowhere, the Australians got hold of Aaron Finch, easily their hardest hitting opening batsman since the exit of Adam Gilchrist from limited overs cricket. Finchy, as he is lovingly called by his teammates, is a cool bloke that makes the art of batting look easy. When on song, there is no pace attack that can control the big hitting exploits of this muscular lad. As an opening batsmen he possesses the skills and techniques to fend of exceptional bowling attacks but, doesn't quite let loose deliveries go without maximising his gains. A great puller of the short ball, he can be punishing to the ones that go wayward outside the off stump. He will lend a useful hand to Australia's top order and much of the team's momentum will rely on Finch giving the side a flying start. With a highest score of 148, if Aaron stays out for over 20 overs in a game, he might just succeed in defeating his own top score in the limited over format.
It is the presence of characters like Johnson in the modern day game that makes cricket more than just a batsman's game. How many bowlers can you find in today's competitive sport who have the ability to single handedly run the opposition down? The tall and lanky Queenslander did just that to England in Australia's last hugely successful Ashes campaign against their arch rivals. Well built and agile, fast and furious, Mitchell Johnson can bowl deliveries one after the other in excess of 145 k/hr, a facet that is testimony to his fitness. Having enjoyed a career that has remained consistent sans any major injuries so far, Australia will surely look to benefit from the able services of this left arm seamer for another 2-3 years and not just the immediate world cup. He is easily their most accurate bowler, sticking to the routine discipline of maintaining a wicket to wicket line in a fashion that is reminiscent of the great Glenn McGrath. The highly competitive cricketer adds useful credence to his game by offering valuable scores from the lower order, often translating into a number 8 batsman when all he could have done was to be another bunny with the willow. His best figures are 6 for 31 and his miserly bowling average stands at a frugal 25. With 226 wickets from 143 innings, Johnson will look to partner with the likes of Starc and Marsh to aim at nothing more but the batsman's timbre. And, if he gets going, he might just do that game after game.
Australians are known for their never die spirit. Every now and again a debate is raised whether the present international side is as good as their glorious heroes of the past that featured huge names of Warne, Waugh brothers, McGrath and Ponting. With players like Shane Watson, David Warner, James Faulkner, captain Clarke and Mitchell Johnson the present Australian line up is far from being dubbed as ordinary with three out of these five names being able all rounders. As if the present side didn't boast of wonderful talent that overpowers the best teams in the world every now and again, there rose another player in their side that makes defeating Aussies even a bigger hurdle. The young and dynamic Glenn Maxwell can unleash quite a fury given his blistering batting talent. Extremely fit, determined and skilfully aware of the impact innovative batting can have on the opposition, Maxwell has become a trump card for team Australia, whenever the side depends on his fire-fighting brand of batting to help them construct a hefty total and at times even lift them out of a spot of bother. With a calm mind and an easy going approach to batting, it isn't always that a bowler succeeds in keeping this smashing right hander quiet. Though he known for his ferocious hitting on the on side, where he collects easy runs by clobbering hits over the deep mid wicket and long on areas, he can effectively play the square cut and the reverse sweep, cutting across the field on the off to send the ball across the ropes. Scoring runs often at run a ball pace, it isn't surprising to find Maxwell's scoring rates in reach of a 140-150 figure mark. He knows how to penetrate disciplined and accurate bowling attacks and being the imposing batsman he is down the order, one might expect some fireworks this season down under